Tips for New Moms From a Lactation Consultant

Kelly Evans, IBCLC, says new mothers who struggle with learning how to latch their babies correctly might experience low milk supply because milk is not being effectively removed from the breast. Evans says, “Most moms do not see other moms breastfeed, so they are not exposed to how a baby breastfeeds.”

Meeting with a Lactation Consultant

Breastfeeding tips from a lactation consultant

Women who have trouble breastfeeding can find a lactation consultant through their birth hospitals or through the International Lactation Consultant Association. The lactation consultant will set an appointment for an initial consultation where she will take the new mother’s history, such as what problems are occurring, when they started and what medications and complications the mother or baby had during and after birth. Babies might be weighed before and after a feeding to determine how much milk they take in. Allyn notes that she and the mother develop a plan of care together.

Many women believe that they are simply unable to breastfeed. Allyn says, “Often the situation can be improved with just a few adjustments.”

Tips for New Mothers

  • New moms can determine if their baby is latched on correctly by making sure the baby sucks a few times, then swallows.
  • Monitor the baby’s wet and dirty diaper counts to make sure the baby is eating enough. Newborns will pass meconium (thick, greenish-black stool) the first few days of life; however, stools should be yellow in color by five days after birth. Breastfed babies usually have five to six wet diapers and three dirty diapers per day. Notify your doctor or your lactation consultant if you are worried about the number of dirty or wet diapers from your baby.
  • Find support as early as possible. Call a lactation consultant if you feel pain in your breast or nipples or have difficulty breastfeeding. Look for a breastfeeding support group. Talk to your doctor.
  • Allyn recommends “kangaroo care.” Strip your baby down to just a diaper, and remove your clothing from the waist up. Place baby’s tummy and chest against your tummy and chest, and cover him or her with a blanket to keep the body heat in. “Skin-to-skin positioning is an important step in the breastfeeding process. It’s very soothing for baby and moms love it,” Allyn says.
  • Relax. Your baby can sense if you are upset or tense, and that will make him or her upset and tense and have more difficultly to latching on.
  • Don’t forget your nutrition. Follow your doctor’s and lactation consultant’s suggestions on caloric intake while breastfeeding. If you don’t drink enough fluids and eat enough of the right foods, that can affect your milk production.

“I think the most important thing that a mom can do is get all the information she can get before the baby is born and to build up her support system, so that when or if she has issues, she knows who she can call,” Allyn says.

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